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Missouri Joint Task Force on the Future of the Profession releases 2016 report

November 4, 2016

Bill Bay
Bill Bay

A joint task force of the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Board of Governors of The Missouri Bar has released its 2016 report on what the legal profession can do to keep pace with society, technology, and a changing judicial system.

The task force is co-chaired by Thompson Coburn partner Bill Bay and the Hon. Paul C. Wilson of the Missouri Supreme Court. “As the society we serve changes … the legal profession must consciously reassess whether the rules, procedures, traditions and habits that have been developed over so many years continue to serve these core principles efficiently and effectively,” the co-chairs wrote in their introduction to the report. 

Task force members, which included dozens of attorneys and judges from across the state, were appointed in 2015 and organized into subcommittees focusing on the future of the profession from four discrete perspectives:

  1. Legal education and entry into the profession
  2. Leaving or limiting the practice of law
  3. Technology and its impact on the practice of law
  4. Access to legal services and sustainability of law practice

The resulting report, which makes a number of recommendations “designed to help lawyers better address the challenges and opportunities ahead,” is available at a special website created by The Missouri Bar: https://future.mobar.org

Below are a few recommendation highlights from the report: 

  • Require newly licensed lawyers to participate in a mentoring program within their first year of practice.

  • Revise Rule 6.035 to allow lawyers 65 and older to elect to retire and avoid MCLE obligations and inactive fees. 

  • Evaluate technology services and providers, assist lawyers in exercising due diligence and reasonable care as to tech-related issues and concerns.

  • Advocate a change to the United States Tax Code adding “legal services” to the list of authorized expenditures made under group cafeteria plans.